Ryan calls what went down last night an "onslaught of talent." Um...sure? Not that I'm complaining. It was an onslaught of something, that's for certain. There's so much filler tonight that we barely have time for what we're actually here for. No, instead, we have to look at Peter Noone's scary face singing a song. It's nights like these when I find it very hard to justify why I watch this show, paycheck or no paycheck. Like Manilow last year. What kinds of people do they think watch this show? So when we finally get down to business, Ryan calls up the finalists in groups of three. Phil, Melinda, and Blake are told they're not the bottom three. I kept waiting for Ryan to pull the super-mean fakeroo in which he'd be all, "...but one of you is," but it never comes. Which is too bad, because it might have cut down on all the obnoxious whooping from Phil. Sligh, LaKisha, and Jordin are all...obviously safe. Then it's Sanjaya, Haley, and Gina, who would make total sense as a bottom three, which means of course they're all safe as well. Which means it's directly to the bottom two: Stephanie (who was boring and kind of crappy) and Chris R. (who gave the best vocal he's given yet). Oh, America. You're so cute when you're stupid. Steph and Chris have to wait through two commercial breaks, one performance by Lulu ("To Sir With Love" is way more boring than I expected it to be), and one instance of explaining to the audience at home how corporate responsibility works (vis-Ã -vis the Idol Cares thingamajab) before Ryan has to try and wedge the results into the last five minutes of the show. As you might expect, Chris is safe and Stephanie is going home. Strictly speaking, she's going home before people far less talented than she is, but she blew it on a night when she couldn't afford to blow it. It's hard to get too offended.
"Last night, we lost ourselves in the '60s," Ryan Seacrest begins, in that way he has of speaking where nothing makes sense and he's just trying to gather up enough words to fill time until the credits roll. Let's take a look at the top 11 contestants and see which ones look like they're going to puke: Sligh, Phil, Stephanie, Gina, Chris R., Melinda of course, Blake, and Haley. Sanjaya, I am pleased to report, is no longer on suicide watch, which is nice to see. I think that Kinks performance really knocked all the nervousness right out of him. If he can act like that much of an idiot onstage and still live to tell about it? That's gotta be a little liberating, no?
After the credits, it's time to review the signage. "LaKisha Is Forever": uninspired and cheap-looking. "Blake Is My Idol": like we haven't heard that one before, plus the pink-and-blue lettering makes it look like we're at a baby shower. "i vote 4 ryan seacrest": well, that's just stupid. What number did you dial, girl with the crazy eyes? Huh? What number?? Ryan introduces contestants and judges alike, but there's no time to talk to any of them, which I appreciate. Keep things moving, people. On to the recap of last night: First things first, we're reminded ever more bluntly that Crying Ashley was reminiscent of the girls who freaked out and died in the '60s when the Beatles came to their hometown airport. Paula, then, was drunk and suggested picturing Simon without any clothes on. Ryan giggled like a little girl. Stephanie and Sligh are grouped under the generic heading "Everybody was great...even these two!" Blake "breathed life" into a Zombies song (get it??), before Ryan once more displayed his total lack of shame by trying to dance. Then Haley got Simon horny (seriously, that's what the show tells us), and LaKisha wore diamonds, and we're specifically instructed to find her "If I sound like this at 50, I'll look good" comment delightful. Chris R. was "tender" and sang a song about crying, which leads us to...that's right. Sob, little girl, sob! Phil and Gina are herded into the "rock" niche and told to wait there until the coast is clear. And finally, Jordin and Melinda were our Shirley Bassey singers, and both were oh, so kick-ass.
"For once," says Ryan, "it wasn't Paula crying." I think she's about to start crying now, though. Or maybe that's just the usual glassy eyes at play. Next up, Ryan starts to introduce Peter Noone, and while he does, we get more of that goddamn footage of Noone patty-cake clapping from last night. He looks developmentally disabled; stop showing that! Noone takes the stage to sing "There's A Kind Of Hush," which is one of those very early-'60s songs that set my teeth on edge. The sounds of lovers in love and whatnot. That's a sub-"I Want To Hold Your Hand" sentiment, is what that is. Luckily, I'm not paying too close attention to the lyrics, because Peter Noone's scary cartoon face has me captivated. Not to mention the fact that, if he ever was able to sing, he can't now. He bops from side to side like a Weeble, and he keeps giving corny thumbs-up gestures at the Idols. He's the Platonic ideal of cheesy embarrassing dads. He makes some goofy gesture with his arms, and Gina and Chris R. straight-up look at each other and go, "Queer!" without even moving their mouths. That was fantastic. Even Sanjaya thinks he looks like a fool. Think about that. Blake's whispering something bitchy (you know it is) to Melinda, but she's still down with respecting her elders. He'd fare better with Jordin, to his left. Man, I fast-forwarded through this last Wednesday, but I'm so glad I'm being forced to watch it now, because everyone is snickering like mad right now, and it makes me love all of them.
Pimpmercial: "Another Saturday Night" becomes "Another Saturday Night At The Laundromat Because FOX Won't Let Us Go Anywhere Where There Might Be Cameras Or Dancing Or Carnal Temptation." And like near every pimpmercial seems to be, it's filmed in that quasi-stop-motion style, where everything is sped up and methed out and creepy. Points of interest: Sanjaya and Jordin line up side by side for Round 13 of their hair-vs.-hair battle (for those of you who care: Jordin's curls best Sanjaya's mop, which may have gone a tad limp due to the comically overflowing soap bubbles); Blake makes the pouring of powdered detergent appear positively unseemly; and Melinda embarks upon some sort of CGI cartwheeling spree, proving that, yes, she even defies physics. How can she not win?